Representative John Kriesel is getting plaudits from the crowd that normally wouldn’t spit on a Republican if he were on fire, because he opposes the GOP’s Marriage Amendment proposal:
John Kriesel, R-Cottage Grove, is the first Republican in the Minnesota Legislature to announce his opposition to a proposed amendment to the Minnesota Constitution that would ban same-sex marriage, according to the Star Tribune. The bill has cleared a committee each in the Minnesota House and Senate, and Kriesel said he’s working hard to convince his Republican colleagues that the amendment is a bad idea.
“I look at it as: We are all equal,” Kriesel told the Star Tribune. “It is not right. I can’t do it. I’m very upset about this vote. I don’t like it. I think it sends the wrong message. You live once in your life and I’ve learned that the hard way. You never know when it is going to be your time. People fight to find happiness….You find someone you love and now other people are saying because I don’t consider that normal, you can’t do it?”
Two things to set straight first:
One: I have nothing but respect for Rep. Kriesel. He’s earned it, over and over. The fact that he got elected to the House was one of the most satisfying victories of a very satisfying election season last year.
Second: As a libertarian-conservative, I’m perfectly fine with letting people live their lives their own way; I support legalizing many drugs, and support civil unions as a civil contract.
But I – along with a sharp majority of Minnesotans – believe Marriage is a fundamentally religious institution, above and beyond its status as a civil contract. Every one of the world’s religions, barring the odd splinter (shaddap about Episcopals), agrees.
And when we say “marriage is, to us, a religious institution”, the best argument the gay marriage proponents have come up with so far is “no it’s not”.
Which is where I have to push back. “Marriage” is really two different things, depending on who you ask;
- it’s a set of contractually-defined rights (from inheritance to power of attorney to standing in custody trials during divorce) and obligations (most noticable when things don’t go well)
- It’s an ordination for one’s Creator that you and another person are ordained to be together.
Of course, not everyone believes in the same Creator, or even that there is one; notwithstanding this, we are all created (by whatever you think created us) equal before the law of the land.
Most of the gay marriage activists I’ve heard are after the former; the latter seems to draw fewer (although there are plenty of people who want to induce major Christian denominations to recognize gay unions).
So there’s the dilemma for the principled libertarian Christian; in a secular sense, I can agree with Rep. Kriesel, that in re forbidding gays from forming civil contracts…
“It’s just wrong,” Kriesel said. “There is not anything that can move me on this.”
…while on the other hand being equally unmoved to renounce what I (and most Minnesotans) believe about the sacred institution of marriage.
In a sense, I think the Amendment would be a good thing for the proponents of gay marriage, inasmuch as it’d force them to state a case for radically changing the institution that sways the people. The gay movement’s current strategy is to take everything to court (or to radically “progressive” legislatures), and chant that everyone that opposes them is a “hateful” “bigot”. They desperately need to do better, if they want to convince anyone but a judge.
Especially someone like me – who doesn’t believe marriage is a “right” (or even necessarily a great idea), even for straight couples, but that equal protection before the law absolutely always is.
It’ll be interesting to see what issue it’ll be that demotes Kriesel back to “just another Republican” to the Minnesota Independent. There’s always something.